Random Acts of Encouragement

While riding our bikes on a beautiful New Year’s Day afternoon, Hubs and I talked about some of our goals for the year.  We don’t usually wait until New Year’s day to set goals – after all, a goal is a goal and can be implemented at any time during the year.   Anyway, here’s how it happened:

We had just stopped at a park to drink our water and rest for a few minutes when we noticed a young dad fishing with his son and daughter.  The daughter had gotten her line caught in tree and the dad was patiently cutting the line and fixing her rod.  Hubs said he would be back in a minute and walked over to the dad.  After chatting with him for a few minutes he returned to where I was sitting and had a smile on his face.

  Now, I know my husband.  He never goes out of his way to talk to people.  He is basically shy and saves his words – unlike me who talks to everyone and says anything that pops into my head!   I asked him what he said to the dad and he told me “just guy talk”.   Of course, I didn’t settle for that explanation and pressed for more info.  Hubs explained that he had just participated in a random act of encouragement.  He encouraged the dad to keep making memories with his children.  Hmmm. . . a random act of encouragement.  I like that!  Hubs explained that one of his goals for the year was to be more encouraging and to be aware of opportunities to be encouraging.

That got me to thinking.  This past year has been a year of learning to slow down for me.  Two surgeries (one of them a kidney transplant) and some nerve damage to my leg really slowed me down.  At first I thought I would go crazy having to depend on others to take me places and wait on me.  I like to go.  I like to do.  I like to be in the middle of everything.  Having to rest was a hard adjustment for me.

But, here’s what I learned from resting – resting gives you breathing room.  It gives you time to ponder and wonder and look around.  When you move at full speed you miss the landscape.  Even on our bike ride on this particular day, the serious bikers (with fancy bikes and clothes) were speeding by but Hubs and I (with our thrift store bikes and sweat shirts) were taking in the scenery.

When you take the time to notice what is around you, you will most likely notice people.   Some that you know and some that you don’t.  During the Christmas season as I was shopping and running errands, I decided to make it my job to look people in the eye, smile a big smile, and wish them a Merry Christmas.  There were only a few people who didn’t respond back with a smile.  I was especially aware of greeting sales clerks and maintenance people, who I’m sure were having a tough time.  I guess it was my way of showing a random act of encouragement without even thinking about it.   Now, why haven’t I been doing this all of my life?  Simply because I was in too much of  a hurry.  God gave me the gift of noticing people by slowing me down.  Thanks God.

Bike riding after a kidney transplant

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Random Acts of Encouragement

  1. Slow Down, Encourage, Be Thankful… such a great message for 2012! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Sue Thomas

    I love that idea. People really do appreciate the little things, like a smile, a thank you, and any “words of encouragement.” I find it puts me in a good mood, too. Thanks for reminding us of what is important.

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